Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The NBA at the Crossroads











The NBA at a Crossroads
By: Eric Hoosier
 


As a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers it is frustrating to watch what is transpiring this season and leads the mind to wondering about what it will take for them to improve. Should they tank? Should they not tank? Where can we find our next Shaq and Kobe to lead a championship roster? But also as a fan of the NBA, I wonder if the current system in place really works for the long term sustainability of the league.

Some believe that the fastest way to get to the top is to acquire talent via free agency and/or trades.  Success in free agency is a product of good timing and wise decision making; sometimes the wisest decisions are the ones that are not made. Acquiring a player who is a bad fit with your team or system or ends up being overpaid because he happens to be “the best available player” on the market in a weak free agency class usually leads a franchise towards becoming New York Knicks. You must have a strong management team that understands that a great team is based on a coach with a successful system and a marriage of players that can fit in and/or potentially dominate within that system. It doesn’t matter if you have Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony if Mike D’Antoni is their coach, it isn’t going to work as the styles, skills and philosophies do not mesh with the D’Antoni system.

What Phil Jackson brings to the table

Phil Jackson has never rebuilt a roster before, does not matter. Phil Jackson has never had to slog hours on an airplane going from one tiny college town to another scouting collegiate players. Why would he bother? Phil Jackson has never negotiated a contract or had to deal with the vast nuances and implications of the NBA salary cap. He can hire an MIT math whiz and a Harvard trained lawyer to deal with the small print.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Suns Spot (Another Take on P.J. Tucker)

By, m.i.milliman

A fighters approach to the game.


Some of the things that I enjoy are these: My wife and daughters, biking, a good book, and playing and watching basketball––particularly NBA basketball. When watching the NBA it's good to see the highlight dunk as Wade tosses the ball up behind his head on a fastbreak, seemingly to no-one, only to see LeBron James leap in from another dimension and snatch it left-handed out of the air, putting it through the hoop and he ducks in order not to knock himself cold on the rim. That is a good play to watch. Another is seeing Stephen Curry weaving through down screens and pin-downs and other assorted picks, curling off the last one tightly as he receives the ball, watching him square up, even as he floats and fades and contorts himself into some impossible angle, effortlessly flicking the ball towards the basket and watching as it hits nothing but the latter part of the twine as it falls through the hoop. That is also a good play to watch. Both of those plays seem to happen with surprising regularity––at least once a game it seems––and whereas they are extremely difficult and eye-catching, they make it seem commonplace.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Counter Points - PJ Tucker

Counter Points – PJ Tucker

Recently a back and forth started between myself and your favorite Suns fan, Ian Milliman about Suns forward PJ Tucker. The discussion came from a bigger discussion between our two favorite teams, with mine being the Lakers, and how much better was one than the other. I actually like Phoenix’s team, a lot, but feel that Tucker is a massive weak link and without him the Suns would be a lot better than they are currently. Ian once felt as I did but has recently come around on Tucker and feels much of what he does, does not show up in the box score. I personally do not believe that if a players worth does not show up statistically then it isn’t worth much to a team because value and impact on a game can be easily shown through advanced statistical analysis. In my opinion, if Phoenix went out and offered Alex Len and one of their 2014 picks to bring in a good small forward and sent Tucker back to the D League, I feel the Suns have a good shot at being a top 4 team in the West. That’s how big of a liability I think he is.

So we decided to let you decide with our first ever point/counter point column, this one being about PJ Tucker.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Patience

Patience
I remember the Lakeshow days of the mid 90s, I remember them well. Nick Van Exel, Cedric Ceballos, Vlade Divac and Eddie Jones were a fun team to watch. While the Los Angeles Lakers front office waited for the next big thing, us fans enjoyed a team that included a second round pick, a Suns castoff, the last pick of the first round and a late lottery pick, oh and Eldon Campbell. They were a good but not great collection of players coached by a guy who was best known for being a daytime talk show host’s body double, Del Harris. But there is a lot to be learned from that time period of 1994 and 1995 that all Laker fans today need to revisit.

Jordan and Hakeem ruled the league during this period of time in the NBA. Jerry Buss knew that the Lakers needed to be patient, that signing or trading for any old star would not make the Lakers a championship contender overnight, not while Jordan had a championship team backing him. So the Lakers stayed pat keeping all options open and put together an entertaining brand of basketball while they waited for that next opportunity to be great again. They didn’t over value any one single player, later moving those quality players in Nick the Quick, Eddie Jones, Vlade and Cedric as soon as they outlasted their usefulness or an opportunity was presented to improve. Jerry believed that the overall brand and the organization would ultimately prevail even in the days before they had a billion dollar TV deal and a revenue producing state of the art stadium to fall back on. He knew the Lakers would be great again if they made the right moves and understood that often times the right moves are the ones that aren’t made.

The Lakers are in a similar situation in 2013 and need be smart and wait for their next Shaq and Kobe and not jump at the first star that comes their way as they did with Dwight Howard. For as many flaws as Mike D’Antoni has, if he can bring out the best in Nick “Swaggy P” Young and get me to enjoy watching him, they probably have the perfect coach to be patient with. They will never be great with Mike D but they will never be terrible either, they will fall somewhere in the middle of 35-48 wins a season as long as he is the coach and play an entertaining brand of basketball. Like Del Harris, once the pieces are in place you probably want to send Mike packing once you find your next Phil Jackson to lead them to a title. For now those pieces aren't close to being in place and D’Antoni adds value to the organization today.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Christmas Song Preview: Huston Rockets: Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) OKC: Santa Clause is Coming to Town SA Spurs: Oh, Mrs. Clause (I Don't Want to Lose You)


It’s Christmas time, and you know what that means…NBA Christmas Day games! Here is our preview of each team as they relate to our favorite Christmas song classics. Enjoy.

Huston Rockets: The Ramones, Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
OKC: Bruce Springsteen, Santa Clause is Coming to Town
SA Spurs: Subterranean Howl, Oh, Mrs. Clause (I Don't Want to Lose You)














As I said before, this feels like cheating, and this time it is. These three teams don’t have much in common other than proximity and they barely have that. But one thing they do all have in common is that they are good. I feel a bit guilty having focused so much on the negative this Christmas Day. There are some bad teams playing on Christmas and they all happen to be big market teams and so they get a lot of attention. It’s not fair to teams like these three who are actually fun to watch.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Christmas Song Preview: Bulls: Christmas Cannon, Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Lakers: Blue Christmas, Elvis Presley

 It’s Christmas time, and you know what that means…NBA Christmas Day games! Here is our preview of each team as they relate to our favorite Christmas song classics. Enjoy.

Chicago Bulls: Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon & LA Lakers: Blue Christmas, Elvis Presley


By, m.i.milliman


It feels a bit like cheating putting to teams together, especially two teams that aren’t even playing each other. But this whole exercise has been about trying to match the tone of an NBA franchise up with a song for Christmas (not lyrically so much, although they do come into play), and it would seem to me that the Lakers and Bulls have a lot in common this Christmas. 

I want to start with this: What does it say about our world, when out of all of the big market NBA teams––New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers––the Clippers are the most stable and competitive of the lot?